With a huge slate of games on tap for Week 9, we are going to take a look at a few more games this week than we normally do, so let's get right to it.
Tampa Bay @ New Orleans
The Buccaneers (4-3) travel to New Orleans this weekend to do battle with the division leading Saints (5-3). The Bucs are coming off a bye and should have RB LeGarrette Blount back from his sprained MCL which has kept him out two weeks. The Saints, on the other hand, are coming off a crushing and — let's face it — embarrassing loss to the St. Louis Rams in Week 8. The Rams upset the Saints 31-21 in what had to be the biggest upset so far this season. The Saints will also be without rookie RB Mark Ingram for this game while he continues to nurse his heel injury. This is a huge game in terms of playoff implications for both teams, with Tampa Bay feeling even more pressure due to the fact that they went 10-6 last season and still missed the playoffs. Every win is an important one in this league, and both teams need one badly. Keep in mind that the Bucs have won the past two contests in the SuperDome. But in my opinion, third one will not be a charm this time.
New York Jets @ Buffalo
The Jets (4-3) head to The Ralph for the first time this season as they take on the Buffalo Bills (5-2) in an AFC East battle. The Jets are coming off a bye in Week 8 after notching two straight victories, while the Bills are coming off a big victory against Washington in which they shut out the Redskins 23-0 and recorded ten sacks. The Jets, however, have had Buffalo's number the past three meetings in Orchard Park. Like any divisional game, this one is huge for both clubs. The Bills are trying to continue their early season success behind QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and RB Fred Jackson , while the Jets are looking to continue their two-game winning streak and jump ahead of the Bills in the AFC East behind QB Mark Sanchez and the always tough N.Y. Jets defense. A "white-out" is being planned this week in Buffalo, and no, snow is not in the forecast. Fans have been told to wear white as the Bills will wear their road jerseys for the first time in 25 years at home. This game could go either way, but I think the Bills will edge it out since they are the home team…in away jerseys.
New York Giants @ New England
In a rematch of one of the greatest Super Bowls of all time, the Giants (5-2) head to New England to face Tom Brady and the Patriots (5-2) in what should be an epic battle. The Giants are coming in bruised and battered, with recent news of RB Ahmad Bradshaw having a broken bone in his foot, WR Hakeem Nicks with a hamstring strain, and DE Jason Pierre-Paul questionable with a concussion. The Patriots are coming off a big loss last week in Pittsburgh and one that hasn't set well with the entire team. “It’s just a poor level of execution, all around,” Brady said. “Individually, we’ll have to look in the mirror and figure out what we need to do better.”
The Patriots have the worst pass defense in the league, which is music to Eli Manning's ears. After his big performance last week of over 300 yards passing, Manning will look to expose the Patriots secondary for some big plays. With Bradshaw and Nicks likely out, Manning will need to do this to come up with a victory in Foxboro. Brady will have his usual weapons in his arsenal, so no concerns there. What concerns New England fans the most about the Patriots is their defense, and with a potent offense coming in, they better get it together or they could lose their second game in a row, something that hasn't been done since 2009. I have watched the Patriots long enough to know that they are a resilient team and a team that doesn't usually lose at home; and they won't this week either.
Baltimore @ Pittsburgh
If you are a fan of the NFL, which I can safely say you are because you are reading this right now, then you know how big of a game this is. In my opinion, this is the best rivalry game in the NFL in recent years, and it should be a doozy this Sunday night in Pittsburgh. The Ravens (5-2) demolished the Steelers in the season opener this season, whopping the Steelers 35-7 in Baltimore. The Steelers haven't forgotten that beat down, and will look to avenge that loss this Sunday night. The Steelers (6-2) will be without some key names for this matchup, which is definitely a concern on the defensive side of the ball. Linebackers James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley, and James Farrior are all currently dealing with injuries and may miss the game on Sunday night. All three are questionable for the game, so Steelers' fans are holding their breath that their linebackers are healthy enough for the game. If not, RB Ray Rice should have a field day running the ball. He's coming off a three touchdown performance in the second half against Arizona last week. QB Joe Flacco is going to have to protect the ball this week considering he has already fumbled four times and throw six interceptions so far this season. At the end of the day, you have to go with the home team here. In Week 1, I chose the Ravens because they were at home. I will do the same this week with the Steelers.
Fan Hub Action
Marcy Kelly June 12th
Wow! I must have listened to a completely differnt press conference. Oh, wait- you convinently left off all of the good things they just got…
Nathan Devine June 5th
The dude is nasty. The fastball is REAL heavy at 97-100. Steady improvement every year.
Jeanne-Marie Jansen Lowell May 23rd
Greatest relief pitcher EVER! Someday we can all tell our grandchildren we got to see him pitch. A true legend!
Charlie Lobosco May 23rd
Ask Craig; I’ll say it again; not the best relief pitcher ever; the best MLB player ever. Yes, that includes everyone.
Jim Lowell May 23rd
Great tribute to a great player, a great Yankee, and a great man.Thank you!
Frank Lowell May 23rd
Great job, Ryan! As a life-long Yankee hater since the 1950’s in the closing days of the Brooklyn Dodgers, I can only sit back and…
Tiffany Riddle May 23rd
Love the article, and I completely agree!
Michael T Carr May 16th
Another good article, Craig Lowell.
June 18th, 2013 3:14 PM
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